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Poster: William Tell Date: Mar 30, 2010 11:39am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Robert Hunter

Yes, my whole point with Paul (have sent him an email about your defense and love all things "Sir Paul" (JK of course, I know you weren't doing that!) was the the decline of Hunter could at best have only been a small part of it...

But, I do think the notion of him coming to the DEAD with AmBeau and Workman gems in 1986 might have made Jerry feel more alive? More better?

I think that was partly STloco's point worth considering?

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Poster: steam locomotive Date: Mar 30, 2010 3:42pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Robert Hunter

This debate goes back to Plato, but I should probably categorically state that yes the lyrics matter considerably to the overall quality of the music. The songs are more than just platforms for extended improvisation.

(To return to an earlier discussion) This is one of the many things that separates the Dead from the jam bands -- they have great songs. Furthermore, one of the things that elevates the Dead's jamming is their thematic quality. Garcia's playing is highly sensitive to the lyrical content of the songs.

Coupla other points:

Hunter's fading powers were certainly not the only factor in the band's overall decline, just an underrated one. To me, the boredom in those later years is palpable at times. In the past, they were clearly energized by the influx of new tunes, which could even reshape how they approached old material (e.g., post-Fire Scarlet Begonias).

Also, Hunter's talent went considerably beyond American Beauty and Workingman's. Aside from those I'd throw in:

Bird Song
Brown-eyed women
China doll
Comes a time
Crazy fingers
Eyes of the world
Fire on the mountain
Franklin's tower
Here comes sunshine
He's gone
Jack straw
Loose Lucy
Miss Half Step
Ramble on rose
Reuben and Cerise
Row jimmy
Scarlet begonias
Stella blue
To lay me down
Wharf rat
The wheel

Add it up and it starts to look like one of the great American songbooks.

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Poster: ringolevio Date: Mar 31, 2010 5:35am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Robert Hunter

Promontory Rider
Tiger Rose

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Poster: Uncle_John Date: Mar 30, 2010 11:13pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Robert Hunter

To me, Hunter is(was) a masterful lyricist. After more than 30 years of listening I know all the songs by heart, but I'm still occasionally floored by some lyrical nuance or a new interpretation of a familiar line. Often it's a slightly different delivery by Garcia that triggers this, but it's a big part of what keeps me coming back for more.

I definitely agree that the quality and quantity of Garcia/Hunter songs declined after the hiatus, and dropped of precipitously in the 80's. But I'm not sure that was entirely Hunter's fault. I've read that Garcia withdrew from his non-junkie friends during the dark years, and it wouldn't be much of a stretch to imagine that his relationship with Hunter was strained. If I were Hunter and my friend was off in the ozone, I wouldn't be too inspired to create new material to work on with him...

They did seem to have a bit of a resurgence in their partnership during Garcia's more sober years in the late 80's and early 90's but, I agree, not much that equaled their earlier work.

As for the poet/lyricist argument - I'd say Hunter worked both sides of that fence. Some of his song lyrics would certainly stand alone as poetry, others wouldn't. I would say that he showed the insight and sensitivity of a poet when, in the early 90's, he wrote the band's obituary in Days Between.

- John

Edited to say... WRT the Beatles: Paul was a better songwriter, but John was the one who actually had something to say.

This post was modified by Uncle_John on 2010-03-31 06:13:34

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Poster: William Tell Date: Mar 30, 2010 4:02pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Robert Hunter

It does indeed! Great Americana for sure!?

Yep, I think we two are largely on the same pg; great discussion thread!

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Poster: Jobygoob Date: Mar 30, 2010 11:54am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Robert Hunter

From the number of times we heard Foolish Heart, So Many Roads, Liberty, Standing On The Moon, etc etc played live, it doesn't seem to me that Jerry had much of a problem with RH's latter day output for the band. I would agree that these songs don't even come close in comparison with the gems from the two early albums you mentioned, but I certainly wouldn't describe them as stale or examples of a declining talent either. Probably more of an evolution than anything, for better or worse, most would say worse I guess. The lightning that struck twice on WD and AB wasn't ever really repeated in any of the later collaborations, but there's much to love in everything that came later in my opinion anyway.

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Poster: midnightcarousel Date: Mar 30, 2010 7:11pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Robert Hunter


sorry Tell, you had nested parentheses and forgot to close one!

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Poster: William Tell Date: Mar 30, 2010 8:51pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Robert Hunter

Thanks! I do that SO often...good to know you've got my back (ahem, in a good way!)...here's a few more for next time: )))))

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Poster: spacedface Date: Mar 31, 2010 11:05am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Robert Hunter

re American Beauty, are Hunter's notebooks published to compare periods?

What if Jerry was just interested in ice cream, heroin, and old-timey covers (those were good).

This post was modified by spacedface on 2010-03-31 18:05:24

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